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«In the heart of the Chew Valley in Bath and North East Somerset The United Parish of East Harptree with West Harptree and Hinton Blewett- our search ...»

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In the heart of the Chew Valley in Bath and North East Somerset

The United Parish of East Harptree with West Harptree and Hinton Blewett- our search for

a new House for Duty Priest

Parish Profile-May 2016


What we can offer and what we looking for from our new Priest

We are a truly United Parish and have been for 40 years with

 one PCC

 a friendly and welcoming congregation that travels to a different church each Sunday

 an outlook that is prepared to embrace innovation and change  values that include collaboration, a community ethos and stability  relatively sound finances, with one cheque book/one PCC account We believe we are a parish with potential. We might appear to the casual observer to be a parish that can weather most storms but we are not complacent about our weaknesses. We would welcome a Priest who is keen to see us develop further. We are looking for a Priest who wants to be with us for more than the short term.

A significant project to reorder East Harptree church is underway and a key aim of this is to build much closer links with East Harptree C of E Primary School. There are some green shoots of progress to regenerate the involvement of younger people in the church but there is much more to be done. This project would benefit from the involvement of our new Priest in the strategic issues.

We see a particular focus for our new Priest in the following areas  Worship  Pastoral care  Nurturing the existing congregation  Young People (particularly enhancing our links with our C of E School) There are a good range of skills amongst those on the PCC (although we do not pretend we are perfect). Members of the PCC are able and willing to take the strain on issues such as administration and finance, which we do not believe are the best use of the limited time of a House for Duty Priest. Members of the Laity already lead worship. They also happily read lessons, lead intercessions and administer the chalice. This could we believe be developed further.

Members of the Laity recognise the importance of being involved with pastoral care and would welcome the leadership of a new incumbent to develop this.

The United Parish is set in a beautiful part of God’s world south of Bristol and Bath and is particularly attractive for families. There are excellent local facilities and schools, and the villages in which the United Parish is situated have a strong community ethos.

We hope you enjoy reading this Profile. We look forward to meeting you and welcoming you and introducing you to our United Parish.



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1. Introduction Thank you for requesting our parish profile. We hope you will enjoy reading it and find the information useful and indeed that you will be inspired by it and want to know more.

If there are questions you would like to ask or other information you would appreciate before you decide to apply, do contact the chairman of our PCC Graham Sage (sagerosie@hotmail.com and 01761 452653) or one of the churchwardens Guy Stobart (guywstobart@gmail.com and 01761 221505), or our Archdeacon Andy Pigott (adbath@bathwells.anglican.org and 01225 873609) or our Rural Dean Jane Chamberlain (revjanechamberlain@gmail.com and 01761 220070) We are praying for God’s guidance regarding our next priest and wait with patient expectation for the Holy Spirit to send us the right person to lead our United Parish.

2. Brief Overview of the United Parish Since 1976 we have operated as a truly United Parish with one Parochial Church Council and, apart from in relation to fabric matters, one chequebook/one PCC bank account. The Bishop is coming to celebrate and recognise our 40th Anniversary in the Autumn of 2016.

We are a very cohesive parish, exemplified by the fact that we travel each Sunday to a different church for worship. There are no repeat services in each village church. We also have an ecumenical recent history. We used to have one service a month in a Methodist chapel in East Harptree which sadly is no longer operating. For 12 years until the recent past we shared West Harptree Church with our Catholic friends under a formal sharing agreement, but sadly they also have had to retrench.

The PCC is drawn from all three villages. There are six Churchwardens, two from each village, who serve for a recommended five years and PCC members for three years (although all 3 churches have struggled in recent years to attract Churchwardens and PCC members). We have around 70 people on the current Church Electoral Roll.

The adult population as at July 2011 was East Harptree 660, West Harptree 396 and Hinton Blewett 255; the total is around 1450 if our young people are included. For much more information about our parish go to http://www.bathandwells.org.uk/wpcontent/uploads/2014/12/ParishSpotlight_510300-East-Harptree-w-West-Harptree-and-HintonBlewett.pdf. However some of the information, particularly that taken from the 2011 Census, is now somewhat out of date and no longer completely accurate.

Each of the three village churches has a committee responsible for the upkeep and fundraising for the fabric of their own village church, as well as acting as a forum for discussion on church matters. This system has worked very well since the inception of the United Parish.

The United Parish forms part of the Chew Magna Deanery within the Diocese of Bath and Wells.

We are exploring at the moment the possibility of some form of linkage with another parish or benefice, whether in our Deanery or beyond.

3. What others say about the United Parish

Andy Piggott our Archdeacon says:

–  –  –

Jane Bailey the Head of our C of E Primary School says, “I have been warmly welcomed into the whole community since starting my first headship in September 2014. The links between the school and church community are strong, with a committed group of parishioners regularly supporting and joining us for Collective Worship. We are so privileged to have such a beautiful village church, which the children and parents regularly visit for weekly and termly services.

Strengthening and building upon these links is something we are passionate to do and working in partnership with our local church community can further enhance the experiences and opportunities we are able to offer the children and families at our wonderful school.” Barry and Hazel Rider, members of the congregation and Parish News Editors say “Having lived in the United Parish for almost 35 years, we continue to enjoy the friendly and supportive feeling which is present. The school and church together with a range of village events create a real sense of belonging for those who wish to join in.” Mary Cookson, a member of our congregation, says “Since I came to Harptree in 1981 we have benefitted from the different talents of a succession of priests, whose gifts and insights have enriched the church. For me it remains a source of friendship, support and inspiration. It's a good place to be!”

Stacey and Laura Williams, members of the congregation (and Laura leads Sunday School) say:

“We moved to the Harptrees five years ago with our young family and were grateful to find such a welcoming and lively village church with a strong musical tradition, which is for us an essential part of our worship. The church provided an instant way to find our way within the community, to make new friends, and to maintain and strengthen our relationship with God. Our children think of the congregation as an extended family and, as they grow, are increasingly involved in the life of the church. It is a place where they feel secure and loved.”

4.Our vision, our priorities, the key tasks for our new Priest and his or her qualities and skills

The charge of our Bishop is to:

Grow the Church Serve the Common Good Reimagine Ministry Within that framework, and to stay true to that mission, we want to be faithful to the following quotation from Matthew 5:16 “Let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father in heaven”

and our Vision is:

 To serve God  To serve the Communities in which we live  To work together effectively and collaboratively  To grow the church  To encourage one another and use our gifts to achieve what is set out above

To this end the priorities of the PCC are:

 To support our Priest o to enable him or her to have a primary concern for the worship of God and the effective growth of the church - and we recognise that our new Priest will have limited time o by growing (a) the team of Laity involved with worship and pastoral care and (b) the ambit of the tasks and work undertaken by the Laity  To bear the principal burden of the day to day tasks both administrative and financial  To reach out to the community by o building on the recently created worship group to reflect further on, and develop, the ways we do worship and music o continuing to build the links with our C of E primary school, and developing space and facilities for the school within the church at East Harptree which will also bring children and adults into the church and provide for a need  To forge closer links with the community by o Developing pastoral care teams o A ‘welcome’ audit (noticeboards, inclusive worship etc)  To continue as a United Parish, and which works to support one another  To actively consider linking our United Parish with another benefice or parish in order to provide proactive support to the Priest and the PCC/the congregation/the United Parish, and to share resources most effectively. We would want to take this one step at a time and to ensure that our very special identity is maintained if we were to move in this direction.

So the key tasks of the Priest would be  To nurture the existing congregation and reassure them as we learn to embrace change  To grow the church, building on the current successes, particularly in relation to young people, and as part of that to assist in the strengthening of our links with our C of E Primary School  To provide spiritual leadership: teaching, challenging and encouraging us and being the stable and spiritual guide we need  To be positive about the prospect of the joining of the United Parish with another benefice or parish in order to further the spirit of collaboration, and to be prepared to have oversight of the change if it occurs  To develop with the PCC new ways of “being church”1 in the United Parish  To support and encourage members of the Laity to take an active part in worship and pastoral care  To be a critical friend of, and constructively engage with, those responsible for Project Newton (see below)  To develop teams that are led by the right people to carry out or support the carrying out of the tasks identified above  To commit, all things being equal, to being with us for at least the next 5 years.

So the key qualities of the Priest would be someone who is  confident in their faith and leadership  and whose churchmanship has broad appeal  committed to a collaborative approach to leadership  forward looking and flexible  empathetic with young people and able to actively support the outreach to them  an engaging communicator o able to reach the wider community o whose preaching is inspiring, motivating and empowering  a good listener  happy to delegate tasks and who recognises the value and importance of the Laity  not afraid to ask for help and who believes the church can grow in our United Parish and has ideas to help this.

And the key skills of the Priest should reflect (and/or he/she should be able to demonstrate the potential to develop these areas)…  Experience of managing a team collaboratively  Experience of growing churches  Evidence of churchmanship  Evidence of listening  Confidence in leading new initiatives  Knowledge of theology and the ability to make this accessible to others.

The role description for the post is attached in the Appendix attached to this Profile.

5. Our strengths and advantages We know that being a Christian is not just about an hour’s worship on a Sunday and that the secular/sacred divide is more permeable than we imagine, and that we need to go out, and not just think that we have only to draw everyone in.

 Well structured – seen as a good example of a United Parish  Used to working collaboratively  Rotating church services and congregation  Some early and positive signs of recovery in our engagement with young people-Sunday School and Open the Book with the C of E Primary School  Thriving, happy C of E Primary School with which links are developing  A successful children’s group (Adventurers)  One PCC with relatively healthy central finances  Above average church attendance  Prepared to innovate  Talented people in all three villages  Good musical tradition and mixed choir  Beautiful and well placed location

6. Our weaknesses

 Failure to attract other than a handful of younger people and families on a regular basis  Falling income/giving needs to be re-energised  The congregation is mainly elderly and/or retired, in a ‘comfort zone’, and slowly dwindling  There is no structured pastoral work across the United Parish  It is not easy to find Churchwardens or PCC members-we have very recently lost a West Harptree churchwarden and a PCC member, but we have not rushed to fill these posts (we think the replacement PCC member may have been identified however)  We are too set in our ways and are not doing enough to make the church more welcoming to the wider community  We are accommodating the existing generation, whose security needs to be maintained, but we need to do more to prepare for the one to come.

7. Our Worship and services Our present pattern of Sunday services, which rotates around the three churches each week, is

shown below:

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PC Parish Communion SS Sunday School –lay led FS Family Service (previously called All Age Service) ES Choral Evensong PS Informal Praise Service - lay led PCSS Parish Communion with Sunday School BCP Book of Common Prayer Service We hold special services during Holy Week and at Easter, Harvest, Remembrance and Christmas.

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